Husband & Wife Articles

God Gave All – So Can I

A 50-50 marriage does not add up

By Rachel Swenson Balducci

When Paul and I got married, I had an idea of the various tasks we would each claim in order to make household living peaceful and fun. I would buy the food, he would take out the trash. I would clean the bathroom, he would mow the lawn. We’d make the bed together and take turns unloading the dishwasher.

It didn’t take long before I realized that a his-n-her’s list of chores was only partially realistic. Yes, we each did our little To Do’s, but there were also a million other things around the house that needed attention. Trying to keep a running list of whose turn it was to do what was tedious and frustrating and a giant pain. It was way more fun to just move through the house doing what needed to be done and then move on to other more entertaining venues like date night.

Rachel Swenson Balducci

Mother and blogger Rachel Balducci writes from the hearth.

Lucky for us we figured out the pitfalls of 50-50 living early on. Once our kids came along, we had to start giving even more than before. Throw childcare in the mix and you can kiss the chore chart goodbye. We didn’t care who was supposed to change the baby this time – let’s just get the job done!

It was around that time Paul and I realized that we were both giving way more than we ever dreamed – and our happiness was a big part of our willingness to share. Whenever we started keeping track of who did what and when, that’s when the problems would arise.

It was best, we mutually agreed, to give wholeheartedly and without reserve. Things just went better that way. The more we gave from the heart, the more joy we found in married life.

Marriage, we had discovered, isn’t 50-50.

It’s funny how when you get married, 50-50 sounds like the perfect set-up, the perfect plan for making things work. The idea of each spouse giving an equal amount that leads, in total, to the whole – well that sounds very nice and sweet.

“We will each give fifty percent,” you say lovingly to the other, “so that we meet in the middle. We’ll give equally, each giving half to make a whole.”

As you say these words, you have all the love in your heart for your spouse. Each one of you giving half means together you will be a whole. One whole between the two of you is what you figure it will take to make this marriage work.

As you say these words, your eyes misty with devotion, your heart swelling with love – while you have no idea just how off-the-mark that notion really is.

It doesn’t take long to realize that in order to make a marriage work, to make a family run as smoothly, it takes way more than half of your energy, love and efforts.

It takes everything. And then some.

Marriage is about a total sacrifice of love – it’s not about getting up on the cross, of course (Jesus already did that for us, thank you, God). But it’s something very close – it’s about giving everything and not counting the cost. It’s keeping track of nothing, of choosing to forget how much “I did” versus how much “you did.” It’s looking at the day ahead and figuring out how to get the job done, instead of determining how to equally divvy up the tasks.

Holy Week is a perfect time to examine what it takes to make a marriage work. Jesus, his love for us and his perfect sacrifice of self – he is the ultimate in Spousal Inspiration.

Jesus gave everything – he continues to give everything. He asks for nothing in return. When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of me – of my sins, and mostly of how much he loves me.

When I operate out of that love, I find that giving 100 percent isn’t so hard after all.

Rachel Swenson Balducci, the author of the book How Do You Tuck In A Superhero?, blogs at Testosterhome.net.